NEW DELHI: The troubled Kingfisher Airlines on Monday lost its rights to fly on international as well as domestic routes with the Civil Aviation Ministry decision to withdraw all bilateral traffic rights allocated to the airlines with immediate effect.
Kingfisher, owned by flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya, grounded since Oct.1 last year following a strike by pilots and engineers over non-payment of salaries, had lost its domestic licence to fly on Dec.31 as it failed to come up with a viable turnaround plan as demanded by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Under the international Bilateral Traffic Rights, Kingfisher was allowed to operate flights to eight countries, including the United Arab Emirates with 21 services in a week to Dubai.
The other countries being served by the airlines were Bangladesh (14 services per week), Hong Kong (14 services per week), Nepal (7 services per week), Singapore (7 services per week), Sri Lanka (14 services per week “21 services per week from unlimited 18 destinations), Thailand (21 services per week) and UK (7 services per week each from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore). The rights were allocated to Kingfisher between 2008 and 2011.
“These international traffic rights have been withdrawn from Kingfisher Airlines on account of non-utilisation by the airlines,” the ministry said.
“The Civil Aviation Minister has decided to make these International traffic rights available to other carriers for use. This would give additional availability of approximately 25,000 seats per week for use by other Indian carriers to these 8 countries, some of which are much in demand by these carriers,” it added.
“Similarly, it has also been decided to withdraw the domestic slots which were allocated to Kingfisher Airlines at different airports for domestic flights.
“Airports Authority of India has been directed to make these slots available to other domestic carriers as per their demand, the ministry said.
Kingfisher that has run up a loss of more than Rs80 billion had submitted a Rs.6.50 billion revival package to the DGCA for reviving its Air Operator Permit (AOP)and restart flights in a limited way.
It also failed to furnish the no-objection certificates from the service providers, including the Airports Authority of India (AAI), to which the airline owes money.
The service providers had told the DGCA not to renew the permit unless their dues were settled.
The airline has not settled staff salaries either.
Unrelated, an IANS report says the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a petition for contempt of court proceedings against the aviation watchdog for its alleged failure to bring in new norms to regulate pilots’ flight duty time limit.
The apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, issuing the notice on the petition, dispensed with the personal appearance of the head of the DGCA.
The court said the government counsel could represent the regulatory agency.
Appearing for petitioner Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots (SWIP), senior counsel KTS Tulsi said that by its May 3, 2011, order the apex court directed the DGCA to expedite the process of bringing new civil aviation regulation (CAR) related to flight duty time limit (FDTL) for pilots to minimise fatigue.